Citizen Action Monitor

On April 10, while US-led group was busy exploring use of military force against Venezuela…

The Lima Group, including Minister Freeland, issued a declaration rejecting “any threat or course of action leading to a military intervention.

No 2460 Posted by fw, April 17, 2019

Max Blumenthal

“The Washington, DC-based think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted a private roundtable on April 10 called “Assessing the Use of Military Force in Venezuela.” A list of attendees was provided to The Grayzone and two participants confirmed the meeting took place. They refused to offer any further detail, however. Among the roughly 40 figures invited to the off-the-record event to discuss potential US military action against Caracas were some of the most influential advisors on President Donald Trump’s Venezuela policy. They included current and former State Department, National Intelligence Council, and National Security Council officials, along with Admiral Kurt Tidd, who was until recently the commander of US SOUTHCOM.”Max Blumenthal, The Grayzone

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning investigative journalist and the author of several books. He has produced print articles for an array of publications, many video reports, and several documentaries. Blumenthal founded The Grayzone in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

Chrystia Freeland

Yesterday I reposted a story published by Venezuela Analysis, which I titled With eyes wide shut, Canada’s Foreign Minister Freeland deceitfully declares new sanctions on Venezuela. In that piece, she with her eyes wide shut, stated that “Canada is committed to supporting the peaceful restoration of constitutional democracy in Venezuela.” The article went on to mention that the Lima Group, of which Freeland is a leading member, issued a declaration rejecting “any threat or course of action leading to a military intervention.

Hmm. It would appear that Minister Freeland and her Lima Group associates were not in the loop to receive the report from the April 10 meeting of the Washington, DC-based think tank, which hosted a private roundtable called “Assessing the Use of Military Force in Venezuela.”

Or perhaps attendees at the CSIS roundtable were not in the loop to receive the Lima Group’s declaration rejecting military intervention.

Bad case of wires crossed! Should anyone ask, how will the Minister explain this communication blunder? Which will it be: “peaceful restoration” and “rejection of military intervention” or US-backed “use of military force?”

Below is my heavily abridged repost of Max’s excellent report. To read his own full account, click on the following linked title on his website.

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US Military Attack on Venezuela Mulled by Top Trump Advisors and Latin American Officials at Private DC Meeting by Max Blumenthal, The Grayzone, April 13, 2019

EXCLUSIVE: Away from the public eye, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank hosted a top-level, off-the-record meeting to explore US military options against Venezuela.

(The complete list of attendees for the private CSIS event on US military options against Venezuela appears at the bottom of this article.)

On April 10 Washington-based think tank hosted private meeting to discuss military options against Venezuela

The Washington, DC-based think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted a private roundtable on April 10 called “Assessing the Use of Military Force in Venezuela.” A list of attendees was provided to The Grayzone and two participants confirmed the meeting took place. They refused to offer any further detail, however.

Advisors on Trump’s Venezuelan policy attended

Among the roughly 40 figures invited to the off-the-record event to discuss potential US military action against Caracas were some of the most influential advisors on President Donald Trump’s Venezuela policy. They included current and former State Department, National Intelligence Council, and National Security Council officials, along with Admiral Kurt Tidd, who was until recently the commander of US SOUTHCOM.

Other attendees included —

Senior officials from the Colombian and Brazilian embassies like Colombian General Juan Pablo Amaya, as well as top DC representatives from Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaidó’s shadow government, also participated in the meeting.

On January 23, 2019. US initiated coup attempt by recognizing Juan Guaidó as “interim president”

On January 23, following backroom maneuvers, the United States openly initiated a coup attempt against Venezuela’s elected government by recognizing National Assembly president Juan Guaidó as the country’s “interim president.”

US then followed up with steady escalation of punishing economic sanctions and attacks on electric system

Since then, Venezuela has endured a series of provocations and the steady escalation of punishing economic sanctions. President Nicolas Maduro has accused the US of attacks on the Simon Bolivar hydroelectric plant at the Guri dam, which have led to country-wide blackouts openly celebrated by top Trump officials.

However, Guaidó has failed to undermine Venezuela’s military loyalty to President Maduro

Since then, however, Guaidó has failed to mobilize the national protest wave the Trump administration had anticipated, and the Venezuelan military has demonstrated unwavering loyalty to Maduro. In Washington, the sense of urgency has risen with each passing day.

‘We Talked About Military Options in Venezuela’

Consideration of military options signals frustration with failure of other approaches  

The CSIS meeting on “Assessing the Use of Military Force in Venezuela” suggests that the Trump administration is exploring military options more seriously than before, possibly out of frustration with the fact that every other weapon in its arsenal has failed to bring down Maduro.

Blumenthal’s probing questions prompt two nervous participants to hang up on him

On April 10, I obtained a check-in list containing the names of those invited to the meeting. It was apparently incorrectly dated as April 20, but had taken place earlier that day, at 3 PM.

I confirmed that the meeting had taken place with Sarah Baumunk, a research associate at CSIS’s Americas Program who was listed as a participant.

We talked about military… uh… military options in Venezuela. That was earlier this week though,” Baumunk told me, when The Grayzone asked her about the meeting that was wrongly listed for April 20.

When The Grayzone asked if the event took place on April 10, Baumunk appeared to grow nervous. “I’m sorry, why are you asking these questions? Can I help you?” she replied.

After I asked again about the meeting, Baumunk cut off the conversation. “I’m sorry I don’t feel comfortable answering these questions,” she stated before hanging up.

The Grayzone received additional confirmation of the meeting from Santiago Herdoiza, a research associate at Hills & Company, who was also listed as an attendee. “I’m sorry, that was a closed meeting. Good evening,” Herdoiza commented when asked for details on the event.

The CSIS check-in list not only confirms that the Trump administration and its outside advisors are mulling options for a military assault on Venezuela; it also outlines the cast of characters involved in crafting the regime change operation against the country.

Few of these figures are well known by the public, yet many have played an influential role in US plans to destabilize Venezuela.

[Here is my summary of Blumenthal’s list of 17 US schemes to destabilize Venezuela]

  1. Threats to Venezuela’s military urging it to turn on Maduro in support of the US-backed coup attempt: “This message is for the Venezuelan military, you will ultimately be responsible for your actions, do the right thing.”
  2. 2017 scheme to generate suspicion within Maduro’s inner circle by sanctioning all of his key advisors except one to create the suspicion that the one not sanctioned was a CIA asset
  3. Generate rifts in Maduro’s inner circle
  4. Devise initial platter of options for destabilizing Venezuela, starting with “a financial strike at Venezuela’s oil exports.”
  5. Declare that the goal of intervention is to “restore Venezuela’s place as an upper middle class country
  6. In 2010, provide $52,000 for a series of meetings in Mexico in 2010 where Guaidó and his associates plotted to bring down then-President Hugo Chavez through street chaos
  7. Tweet images of jailed Panamanian President Manuel Noriega and the murdered Libyan leader Muammar Ghadafi to suggest preferred outcomes for Venezuela’s president
  8. Promote Washington’s efforts to impose its will on Venezuela.
  9. Recommend that Trump appoint Venezuelan Ambassador Brownfield to lead contingency plans for a military invasion of the country
  10. Install symbolic ambassador of the Guaidó coup regime in Washington DC
  11. Establish a DC-based lobbying outfit to employ a Venezuelan opposition member to attend the CSIS meeting on military force
  12. Use the US Agency for International Aid and Development (USAID) as the leading edge of the Trump administration’s attempts to undermine Venezuela’s government
  13. USAID director Mark Green presided over a deliberately provocative attempt to ram aid shipments by truck across the Colombian border and into Venezuela
  14. USAID rolled out plans for a “Red Team…to train aid workers as special forces” capable of “executing a mix of offensive, defensive, and stability operations in extremis conditions.”
  15. Staff writer for Caracas Chronicles, a leading English language publication echoing the political line of Venezuela’s opposition also has also contributed to the New York Times, most recently in February, when she argued that the US-backed coup attempt was, in fact, “Venezuela’s very normal revolution.”
  16. In 2014, a series of emails were leaked allegedly revealing alleged assassination plot: “I think it is time to gather efforts; make the necessary calls, and obtain financing to annihilate Maduro and the rest will fall apart
  17. The co-founder of Guaidó’s Popular Will party David Smolansky has been in the US scheming with Trump’s #Venezuela czar Elliott Abrams: Iran-Contra war criminal who armed right-wing death squads in Nicaragua, El Salvador & Guatemala

[Blumenthal’s copy of a check-in list containing the names of those invited to the CSIS meeting]

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